Image for post
Image for post
Painting by Muriel Massin

Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create
a clearing
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
patiently,
until the song
that is yours alone to sing
falls into your open cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to the world
so worthy of
rescue.

Martha Postlethwaite

*

What do your theories of matter, their mathematical formulations, their astronomical calculations, your very notions of reality say to my actuality and its main concerns with living on earth and the puzzles of love and beauty, of justice and right action, of breeding and sickening? Why do philosophical cosmologies afford scant nourishment to the interiority, imagination, sensuousness, and suffering that these same cosmologies declare to be my domain? I want cosmological help, a therapeutic cosmology; cosmotherapy. Psychotherapy can never accomplish its tasks with the soul since the world view in which psychotherapy works is fundamentally limited by cosmologies that declare the soul to be inferior, whether these cosmologies be materialistic, monotheistic, evolutional, or idealist. None start in soul. (Cosmology for Soul: From Universe to Cosmos, James Hillman)

A large branch of homo sapiens has a struggle against itself because it can’t accept its humanness. That struggle is played out on the world stage in terms of wars against other humans as well as against nature itself. Most of our conflicts would disappear if we suddenly came into harmony with ourselves. We project our inner conflicts into the world. We experience them as external issues that are to be resolved in the areas of politics, finance and business.

But the world is a mirror of our inner life in ways we don’t notice because our eyes are fixed on the outer events. It doesn’t occur to us that we are creating the outer world, as troubled and threatening as it is. There will always be threats and rumors of wars as long as we can’t find inner peace.

Finding inner peace seems like a fairy tale. How does that happen? Is it even achievable? I would say that it is not achievable if it is seen as an achievement. If the inner world is approached with respect and genuine interest, the complexion of things changes. Getting control and capitalizing on a few elementary insights leads straight into the swamp. Letting things be while observing calmly and affectionately is different.

So, the first step has to be true. It has to be loving and accepting. Barging in with judgements and ego and a desire for a certain outcome will set you back and create more confusion and conflict. Living intelligently involves both action and receptivity.

We are a culture of positive thinkers. We are achievers. That’s our downfall. We discount our inner intelligence. We’re always correcting our intuitions to fit preexisting received wisdom.

“We must be able to let things happen in the psyche. For us, this is an art of which most people know nothing. Consciousness is forever interfering, helping, correcting, and negating, never leaving the psychic processes to grow in peace. It would be simple enough, if only simplicity were not the most difficult of all things.” ~Carl Jung

The act of noticing without attempting to force a solution or a change of any kind is not easy for people raised in our culture. We think we can change things if we will it strongly enough. We believe in will power, not the power of direct observation, not the power of letting things be while we learn about it.

I think seeing has its own power. I’m convinced that simple understanding changes things at the foundations of ourselves, but judging and understanding are two different things. Deciding to change and then forcing a change, is a process that risks turning into its opposite. Real growth comes through understanding, empathy, forgiveness and release, not reaction or papering over the inner dynamic.

We simply need to approach ourselves with sympathy and a desire to understand. We need to give ourselves the kindness we wish for.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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